Three of four winning teams were from Contra Costa: California High of San Ramon, Miramonte High of Orinda and Campolindo High of Moraga
Instead of taking part in their schools’ football games, dances, and other fun weekend activities, 360 Bay Area high school students (representing 70 countries) buckled down this past Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 and Saturday to discuss and provide workable solutions to many of our world’s biggest challenges, at the 27th annual Contra Costa County Model United Nations (UN) Conference, held at Diablo Valley College.
This academic event is produced and directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) and coordinated by Kevin Felix Chan, of Best Delegate, along with members of the Model United Nations Club at U.C. Davis. The two-day event enhances high school students’ understanding of the United Nations and its role in global issues. Participating students (delegates) each represent a nation and negotiate on that country’s behalf.
Bay Area high school teams participating in this year’s Contra Costa County Model UN were: Acalanes High (Lafayette), Athenian High (Danville), Berean Christian (Walnut Creek), California High (San Ramon), Campolindo High (Moraga), Carondelet High (Concord), De La Salle High (Concord), Deer Valley High (Antioch), Dougherty Valley High (San Ramon), Foothill High (Pleasanton), Liberty High (Brentwood), Lycée de Francais San Francisco (San Francisco), Miramonte High (Orinda), and Northgate High (Walnut Creek).
During the conference, delegates debated international issues in 10 committees, including Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC), Security Council (UNSC), United Nations Women (UN Women), World Health Organization (WHO), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Topics discussed will include Biological and Chemical Weapons, The Question of North Korea, Access to Clean Water and Sanitation, Children in Armed Conflict, and many more. For a complete list of committees and detailed topics, please visit this Web page.
This year, California High earned the Outstanding Large Delegation Crystal Gavel Award, with Foothill High following with Exceptional Large Delegation Plaque. Miramonte High received the Outstanding Small Delegation Crystal Gavel Award, and Campolindo High brought home the Exceptional Small Delegation Plaque. Numerous individual awards were earned, and will be listed on the Model UN Web page in the very near future.
“We are pleased to see so many high school students throughout our county and the Bay Area take advantage of our Model UN program,” says Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata. “Model UN is an excellent opportunity for students to display all the hard work and preparation they have put in, as they successfully discuss, persuade, and work with fellow committee members on real-world problems and complex international relations. The skills they are currently refining with this program will be the same ones they’ll use in college and/or in their future careers.”
This academic event also offers students an opportunity to gain substantive knowledge about the cultures and policies of the countries they represent. They can learn the mechanisms for peaceful resolution of disputes, while at the same time honing their interpersonal skills. They must practice writing and speaking skills in order to persuade delegates from other attending schools.
Kevin Chan reported that the 35 U.C. Davis Model UN Club volunteers who presided over the Committee Meetings were extremely impressed with their younger brothers and sisters who share a tremendous interest in international affairs.
Model UN differs from other CCCOE academic-event programs, such as Mock Trial, in that it is not so much a competition as it is an event. Participants are commended for outstanding committee work and certificates are awarded to committee rapporteurs. Individual delegate winners are recognized for their debate skills, leadership skills, knowledge of the issues, and presentation of key resolutions. The event closes with a ceremony that recognizes the outstanding delegates.